GAA Football

Feb 22: NFL Matchbox: Down hoping to boost promotion chances

CHANCE: Liam Kerr has been named in the Down attack for the visit of Longford. Pic Philip Walsh

ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE

TODAY

Division One

Dublin v Donegal

(Croke Park, 7pm)

DUBLIN haven't lost to Donegal in their last seven encounters, winning six and drawing one, but maybe there is just a chink of light there for Declan Bonner's side. The hosts have been middling at best thus far and Donegal should be able to call on Patrick McBrearty and Hugh McFaddnen. Donegal's last win over Dublin came in 2014 when they hit 3-14, at least a couple of goals will be needed if they are to leave Croke Park with the spoils.

Odds: H: 4/11 D: 8/1 A: 3/1

Verdict: Draw

Division Two

Fermanagh v Cavan

(Brewster Park, 7pm)

FERMANAGH have an excellent record at Brewster Park but Cavan did win on their last League visit there in 2016. Mickey Graham's side should have a spring in their step after moving into the promotion spots following a fine win in Laois last weekend. They were bottom of the table before the throw-in of that refixture. Stephen Murray could be in line for a start for the visitors having scored two goals from the bench last week.

Odds: H: 11/8 D: 11/2 A: 10/11

Verdict: Cavan

Division Three

Down v Longford

(Páirc Esler, 7pm)

PETER Fegan and Benny McArdle come into the Down defence wile Cory Quinn, Ceilum Doherty and Liam Kerr will get their chance in attack in this crucial clash between two promotion candidates. Longford have picked up five points in their opening three games but this could be a tricky evening. It should be close, but Down should get the job done.

Odds: H: 4/7 D: 15/2 A: 7/4

Verdict: Down

Tipperary v Cork

(Semple Stadium, 7pm)

TIPPERARY boss David Power has said that safety is still their number one aim but a win here would take them right into the promotion picture. They will have to be at their best to achieve that though. Cork have looked strong and have racked up three wins from three. Down have gotten the closest to them but still lost by five points last time out. The Rebels have a great spread of scorers with 11 players getting on the scoresheet against the Mourne county.

Odds: H: 4/1 D: 8/1 A: 1/4

Verdict: Cork

Division Four

Sligo v Waterford

(Markievicz Park, 2pm)

SLIGO'S winning streak was brought to a halt by Wicklow last time out but they should get back to winning ways here. Manager Paul Taylor questioned their work-rate against the Garden county so he will be expecting a reaction here. Jason Curry (0-10) has been Waterford's top scorer to date but he will need plenty of assistance if they are to cause a surprise.

Odds: H: 2/9 D: 9/1 A: 4/1

Verdict: Sligo

TOMORROW

Division One

Kerry v Meath

(Fitzgerald Stadium, 1pm)

THIS looks like a home backer as Kerry attempt to ascend the table. It's a win, a loss and a draw so far for Peter Keane's side but they should have little bother earning a second victory here. The second half of the League is only starting but Meath already look like certs for the drop. A win against Mayo looked on last time out before they conceded a late goal.

Odds: H: 1/8 D: 14/1 A: 13/2

Verdict: Kerry

Galway v Tyrone

(Tuam Stadium, 2pm)

SECOND meets third in Tuam with both sides coming in off the back of one-point wins. Tyrone battled hard to see off Kerry, Galway staged a fine comeback against Donegal – it's going well for both counties. The Tribesmen have brought in Liam Silke, Eamon Brannigan and Adrian Varley as they try and build on that win in Letterkenny.

Odds: H: 5/6 D: 7/1 A: 11/8

Verdict: Galway

Monaghan v Mayo

(St Tiernach's Park, 2pm)

COLIN Walshe and Jack McCarron have been passed fit for Monaghan although Fintan Kelly remains absent for the time being. The Farney county have played well and should have more than three points on the board, especially having led Dublin by 10 points in their last game. Kevin McLoughlin, unsurprisingly, is one of five players brought into the Mayo team after his 1-2 turned the game against Meath in Navan.

Odds: H: 10/11 D: 13/2 A: 13/10

Verdict: Monaghan

Division Two

Clare v Laois

(Cusack Park, 2pm)

CLARE are currently bottom of Division Two but as Cavan showed last week, you can move up this table rapidly. In fact they could theoretically move into the promotion spots if results went a certain way. Laois came unstuck against Cavan last time out but the likes of Colm Begley, Benny Carroll and Eoin Buggie could be included in the squad here as they continue their injury recoveries.

Odds: H: 11/10 D: 6/1 A: 11/10

Verdict: Clare

Westmeath v Armagh

(TEG Cusack Park, 2pm)

ARMAGH can take a grip of the division if they collect their fourth consecutive win in Mullingar. They will be hoping that Rory Grugan is passed fit as he is so key to their attacking play. Westmeath are a tough nut to crack at home though having defeated Clare by one point and Fermanagh by two. Armagh should get enough chances though, and if they are in accurate form they will win.

Odds: H: 16/5 D: 15/2 A: 4/11

Verdict: Armagh

Kildare v Roscommon

(Newbridge, 2.30pm)

BOTH these sides would have been eying promotion at the start of the season but the loser here could very well be out of the running. Darragh Malone is set to make his debut for the Lilywhites in defence while Adam Tyrell, a top player on his day, comes into the side. Kildare have struggled on the road, losing in Enniskillen and Armagh, but they should dig in for the win on home soil.

Odds: H: 4/5 D: 6/1 A: 6/4

Verdict: Kildare

Division Three

Derry v Louth

(Owenbeg, 2pm)

LOUTH forward Sam Mulroy lost his red card appeal during the week so Wayne Kierans will be without one of his top forwards for the trip north. The Wee county need something from this if they are to avoid relegation, but it's hard to see them scoring enough to trouble Derry. Rory Gallagher's side finally got their first win, beating an ill-disciplined Tipperary last time out, and they will make it two from two here.

Odds: H: 1/5 D: 11/1 A: 4/1

Verdict: Derry

Leitrim v Offaly

(Avantcard Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada, 2pm)

JORDAN Hayes comes into the Offaly line-up as they try to build on last week's dramatic win in Louth. With the wind playing havoc, they saw their 12-point advantage whittled down to a single point, but the impressive Ruairi McNamee stood up to kick the two scores that got them over the line. Leitrim are struggling badly and Terry Hyland's men need a result here to kickstart their survival charge.

Odds: H: 2/1 D: 7/1 A: 8/15

Verdict: Leitrim

Division Four

Wexford v London

(Chadwicks Wexford Park, 12pm)

WEXFORD are aiming for their third win in-a-row as they welcome London. It had been a difficult start to life as an inter-county manager for Paul Galvin but things are starting to click and they should come out on top here. London have lost all three games but they were competitive against Limerick and Antrim at least.

Odds: H: 1/6 D: 10/1 A: 5/1

Verdict: Wexford

Limerick v Wicklow

(Rathkeale, 2pm)

CAN the dream start for Limerick continue? Three wins from three, and a bit of luck along the way. London missed a glorious chance to earn a draw while Carlow dominated them for long periods before the Treaty nicked 1-1 in injury time. Still, they say the table never lies but they face a tricky outing against a Wicklow team sitting nicely in second position.

Odds: H: 4/7 D: 13/2 A: 15/8

Verdict: Limerick

Antrim v Carlow

(Glenavy, 2.30pm)

RICKY Johnston comes into the Antrim team in place of Adam Loughran who was a goal-scorer for their U20s against Derry last night. This feels like a huge game, probably more so for Turlough O'Brien's side as they have lost two of their first three games. Don't rule out a draw.

Odds: H: 1/2 D: 13/2 A: 11/5

Verdict: Draw

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